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Upcycling by the Sea
EAC Ecology & Action - Fall 2017 (page 18-19)
Turning bric-a-brac into art
THE CHRONICLE HERALD Published July 25, 2017 - 3:30pm
What started as a personal — and private — artistic venture is now a lucrative business for Halifax-based artist Dorothea LeBlanc.
Although she graduated from Guelph University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, LeBlanc took a break from art for more than two-and-a-half decades to deal with symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Her health began to improve in 2007 and, after a trip to China, her love for art began to take precedence.
“I was doing realistic painting and I started doing this upcycled work on the side, but kind of hiding it because I didn’t think anyone would like it,” said
LeBlanc. “Realism is so much more accepted by the general public — it was really just a lack of self-confidence.”
And as LeBlanc started being part of group shows around the province with her realism paintings, she began sneaking one or two upcycled works into her collection.
“I remember the first time I brought one of them, the theme of the show was primary colours, and I thought that was pretty broad and I could put one of my upcycled pieces in because it was primarily red,” she said. “I put it up and it didn’t win any awards, and i didn’t sell. I don’t even think I even got any comments about it.”
But that didn’t stop her.
“I just kept at it because it’s more fulfilling for me; I get to be more creative,” she said. “Where as painting realism is painting exact what I see, it’s uninteresting to me. But with this, every part of the process is creative — it’s infinite creativity.”
LeBlanc starts with a blank canvas and attaches different household items — like old clothing, broken jewelry, screws, nails and more — with glue, then paints over everything with all the colour and texture she can find.
“For my first large one, that’s 20x24 inches, I used all my own stuff in my kitchen’s miscellaneous drawer,” she said. “I just used a whole bunch of different stuff and glued it on. Now I go to second-hand stores and just get things there. Sometimes they’ll sell a b of junk jewelry and it makes perfect art for me.”
LeBlanc says her love for the environment is what ultimately started her on her upcycling journey.
“I’ve always been a diehard recycler; I really don’t like to throw things away,” she said. “So I’ve got drawers and buckets full of things and whatever I have a lot of just inspires me. I’ll look through and something will give me an idea and I’ll jus start gluing in and painting.”
For more information on LeBlanc and her artwork, visit https://dorothealeblanc.ca (https://dorothealeblanc.ca).
This is an article I wrote for The Abundant Artist blog site.
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